Chad Norman Interview
The Indie Book Butler Interview.
Indie Book Butler: Let’s start things off with an introduction. Tell us a little about yourself for those not already aware of you and your work.
Chad Norman: Chad Norman lives beside the high-tides of the Bay of Fundy, Truro, Nova Scotia, and he has given talks and readings in Denmark, Sweden, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, America, and across Canada.
His poems appear in publications around the world and have been translated into Danish, Albanian, Romanian, Turkish, Italian, Spanish, Chinese, and Polish.
His collections are Selected & New Poems ( Mosaic Press), and Squall: Poems In The Voice Of Mary Shelley, is out from Guernica Editions. And Simona: A Celebration of the S.P.C.A. will be out early 2021 from Cyberwit.Net (India).
IBB: You’ve got twenty words to tempt us to read your book(s). What would you say?
CN: Every collection I write is guided by a different muse. From relationship to immigration to rescuing a pet themes.
IBB: Where do you like to write?
CN: I usually write in the front-room when using pen and notebook. And the basement when using the keyboard. When the weather permits I write outside as well. I once wrote a lot of a full collection while walking back and forth from home to a punch-the-clock job, as I call them.
IBB: Is there anything you must have in order to write?
CN: Several cups of black rum certainly helps. And a sign from whatever muse has arrived to guide me. A pen. A piece of paper helps too.
IBB: What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
CN: At different ages and stages there have been numerous books, both poetry and essays, as well biographies. I read a lot of all three. Try to have more than one book on the go at all times. But to mention a title or two, Grey Is The Colour Of Hope, by Irina Ratushinkaya, and We Not Romans, by Murdock Burnett.
IBB: What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
CN: I would say learning how to promote my poetry. As well as giving public readings, arranging reading tours, and writing every chance I get. Finding my way out onto the cracking branch, or the diving-board above an empty pool. Always embracing risk, and never worrying about fitting in, staying true to being as Whitman advised, ” Be a reliable vessel.” When the words are given or sent always get them down…no matter what or when.
IBB: What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
CN: A lot my “wanting to achieve” is behind me in a way, my last collection was my 18th, and many of my poems now have appeared in literary publications around the world, as well as translated into a number of languages. But I still chase a goal I had when young: to write a collection of poems that are considered long-lasting, and made up of work people will read and get. It would be appreciated to have the opportunity to share my poems aloud in more new countries.
IBB: Have you received a favorite review of your work?
CN: Yes. Just recently, written about my 2015 Black Moss press collection, Learning To Settle Down. A student studying Marine Biology, with a English course in there somewhere too, wrote me what I consider the only review written about it!
Yeah, believe it. If the publisher doesn’t get review copies circulated there is no chance for a review, and even then someone has to volunteer to take it on. I also had Susan Musgrave review my first collection, The Breath Of One, she said, “… it was the perfect book to take to the beach, the poems are short enough you can make sure your kids are safe at the shoreline.”
IBB: Were there any particular parts of the writing/publishing process that you struggled with?
CN: I have struggled a lot over the years in regard to seeing my collections accepted for publication. But to shorten a very long tale most of the struggles were brought about by individuals connected to particular publishing houses. Let’s just leave it at that.
IBB: Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
CN: The only thing I continue to do to improve my writing is to keep on writing, publishing, doing public readings, selling my books, editing and not editing my work, make sure I celebrate the breakthroughs, never not know my writing is a gift.
IBB: What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
CN: As for the ideal relationship between editor and author, I would say both show respect for one another, especially as people first. A removal of ego from both doesn’t hurt.
IBB: If you had a direct line to someone who loves or hates your writing, what would you say?
CN: “Thanks for reading my work. Hopefully, you will seek something else I have written.”
IBB: If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
CN: I always suggest never tell. I never forget what I was given when beginning my path as a poet. I am big on try writing a lot for a while, feel no pressure to publish. Share your work with others whenever possible. Also, find another author you can eventually trust with your work, when daring to ask what they think and feel.
IBB: What does your writing future hold for you?
CN: I hope it holds another acceptance from Guernica Editions, I recently submitted another manuscript of poems to them. And, of course, Covid-19 will take a hike and I can get back out there and give public readings and launch new books.
IBB: How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
CN: Cover art is quite often up to the publisher, but in recent years I have been more and more involved in choosing it, or at least approaching other artists and asking them to collaborate that way. To have the opportunity to be involved in the choice means a great deal to me. I really appreciate it.
IBB: How often do you read? What genre?
CN: I read every chance I get. For example, during my break-times at the punch-the-clock job I have, there is always a book in my back-pack. And a book is in both of the bathrooms in my home. Genre? I touched on that earlier in this interview.
IBB: Before we let you escape, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word…
CN: Two authors come to mind: a young poet from the Oxford, Nova Scotia area, Annabelle Mattinson, and Jan Fancy Hull, also from Nova Scotia.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.